Cancer and Chemotherapy explained
WHAT IS CHEMOTHERAPY?
The term refers to chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatment, which have the function of preventing the reproduction and growth of malignant cells or destroying them. When traveling throughout the body these drugs transiently affect some healthy cells, which is the cause of side effects.
Like chemotherapy works only in cells that reproduce rapidly as tumor cells, the effects will be seen only in some organs and temporarily. The intensity of these symptoms is different for each person.
Some of healthy cells most likely to be affected are blood cells, mucosal cells of the digestive tract, reproductive tract, skin and hair follicles.
Therefore the side effects of the most common chemotherapy include:
Nausea and vomiting
Mucositis (lesions of the oral mucosa)
Decreased blood cells, which can increase the risk of infections.
Constipation / diarrhea
Impaired fertility in young patients
The goals of chemotherapy are:
Reduce tumor size prior to other treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy, this therapy is known as neoadjuvant therapy
Kill tumor cells after other treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy, this therapy is known as adjuvant therapy and aims to reduce the possibility of disease recurrence.
Sensitize cancer cells to increase the effectiveness of radiotherapy
How long does chemotherapy ?:
This depends on the diagnosis, type of tumor, medications as prescribed by your oncologist, the response time of your body to the effects of drugs, tolerance and side effects that occur.
Chemotherapy is given in cycles that include implementation time, which the protocol can vary from one to several days. Then you have a rest period. On receiving chemotherapy and the rest are part of a treatment cycle.
Where you are receiving chemotherapy ?:
Some patients receive in outpatient chemotherapy unit and others require hospitalization depending on the diagnosis and type of treatment.
How administered ?:
Orally (by mouth, tablets)
Intramuscular (injection into the muscle)
Intravenous (direct injection into the vein through a central or peripheral vein)
Subcutaneous (injection under the skin)
Intraperitoneal (infusion in the abdominal cavity)
Intrathecal (injection in the spinal cord)